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The Upside-Down Kingdom [Paperback]

By Donald B. Kraybill (Author)
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Item Number 132897  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   311
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.22" Width: 5.62" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2003
Publisher   Herald Press
ISBN  0836192362  
EAN  9780836192360  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This revised and updated version of the classic The Upside-Down Kingdom, originally published in 1978, is an intriguing study of the kingdom of God in the Gospels. Reflecting the latest insights from recent New Testament scholarship, it demonstrates the sociological perspective's creative ability to uncover new meaning in old biblical texts. Donald B. Kraybill says social, religious, and economic practices of the dominant culture usually favor the rich, powerful, and prestigious. Jesus, on the other hand, favors those who suffer at society's margins and fall between the cracks. Selling over 60,000 copies and translated into six different languages, this book continues to call the church to become an Upside-Down Kingdom favoring the lost, outcast, and leprous-a kingdom ruled by Jesus, the King who triumphs by losing and serves by dying. Winner of the National Religious Book Award: Best Religious Book of the Year.

Publishers Description
An intriguing study of the kingdom of God in the Gospels. Donald B. Kraybill says social, religious, and economic practices of the dominant culture usually favor the rich, powerful, prestigious. Jesus, on the other hand, favors those who suffer at society's margins and fall between the cracks. Winner of the National Religious Book Award: Best Religious Book of the Year. Revised and updated.

Buy The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald B. Kraybill from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780836192360 & 0836192362

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More About Donald B. Kraybill

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! DONALD B. KRAYBILL is Professor of Sociology at Elizabethtown College, Director of the Young Center for the Study of Anabaptist and Pietist Groups, and author of The Amish and the State (1993), Old Order Amish (1993), and The Riddle of Amish Culture (1989).

MARC A. OLSON is Professor of Sociology at Alfred University and author of numerous articles on the Old Order Amish.

Donald B. Kraybill currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania. Donald B. Kraybill has an academic affiliation as follows - Messiah College.

Donald B. Kraybill has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Pennsylvania German History and Culture

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts   [1730  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Upside-Down Kingdom Review  Aug 23, 2007
The book, The Upside-Down Kingdom, is an excellent book. I would highly recommend it. I also would highly recommend your services. You, again, were very prompt and very accurate in your response. Thank you. Agnes Goertzen
It is upside-down alright  Feb 20, 2007
Don Kraybill has done a wonderful job of clearing any misconceptions of the purpose of Jesus' ministry in the three years he was on this earth. Kraybill looks at opposites in our society such as rich and poor, slave and free, amongst others and tackling the realities of each being apart of the other. The book has had a real impact on my relationship with God and my relationship with others. I recommemd the book to anyone who is looking for ways to make changes in our right-side up kingdom.
Upside Down? Yes... Upside Down!  Jan 23, 2007
I will never forget the confused look I received from the audience when I said, "The Kingdom of God is Upside-Down." This revealed to me that many Christians probably have not given a lot of thought to the Kingdom of God. If the Body of Christ fully understood this Kingdom... I don't think she would squinch her eyes at the words "Upside Down." And I certainly don't believe we would be giving in to the temptations Christ rejected!

Kraybill focuses primarily on the temptations of Christ (Matt.4) to reveal the true character of the Kingdom of God. Jesus rejected the temptations in the bread (the economic), the temple leap(the religious), and the kingdoms of the world (the political)... thus accomplishing heaven's task in a way that is foolishness to the world(1 Cor.1:18). If you have had a hard time understanding the Kingdom of God and want to learn how this Kingdom makes no sense to human wisdom... but is the power of God to those being saved... get this book. Wonderful insights into the radical claims of the Kingdom!

I would also like to recommend "The Gospel of the Kingdom" by George E. Ladd
Kraybill, Donald B. The Upside Down Kingdom Revised Ed. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1990. 275pg.   May 20, 2006
"-teaching and preaching ministries ought to call people to a common faith in Jesus Christ that transcends social ties. Is our common bond of unity in Christ stronger than the social glue that holds us together? This is precisely the genius of the gospel. Diverse people from all sorts of boxes are reconciled together in Jesus Christ." (pg 226)

Kraybill, Donald B. The Upside Down Kingdom Revised Ed. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1990. 275pg.

Authors Purpose(s)
In part this book is meant to show the believer what the world could be if we would only live out the beatitudes in our lives. The book clearly has human relationships in mind with everything it says. It is an assessment of the sociological systems in place and the statements of Jesus. It is about the upside down kingdom that Jesus ushered us into and how he was not only countercultural in His day but also in our own. As Donald Kraybill writes, "I hope the upside down perspective will provoke stimulating discussions enabling Christian believers to more accurately discern God's will for their lives."
Survey of Covered Topics
1. In the first section of this book Donald Kraybill defines the world he sees around him as being upside down from the world God created for His people. He also looks at a number of "detour[s]" that people use to "evade the kingdom message and bypass its relevance for today." These detours include a number of lies we allow ourselves to believe, such as seeing Jesus as culturally irrelevant to our society or the over spiritualization of Christ's words that make them emotional and take away from their practicality.
2. The second section of the book deals with the political, religious, and economic situations or Jesus' day. The main thrust however is devoted to political sways. Special interest is paid to the attitudes of the Jews towards gentile culture around the time of Alexander and Herod the Great.
3. This third section deals with the complexities of Jewish code and its casts of people. Great descriptors are given of the temple and the worshipers and solid distinctions are made between casts. Most importantly however is the explanation of those Jews for whom hope was found in the coming kingdom of the Messiah.
4. In the fourth section Kraybill asks the reader to look at the divisions of wealth and poor. There is also an important underlining theme that suggests Christ' wish to return to Galilee and care for the physical needs of the poor. It is clearly a precursor to talk later about "blessed is the poor" and "blessed are the hungry" in later chapters.
5. Chapter five is closely related as is talks about slavery and Jubilee. This chapter is about God being the true owner of everything including the people of the world and how we are but lowly stewards of his creation. It is about Christ and his relationship to the people and about a new kind of celebration of the Jubilee in an unexpected way.
6. This section of the book gives an extremely interesting picture of Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler and the existence of "treasures in heaven" and gives a wonderful example of Christ' view of money. Continually Christ used stories and images to overturn the assumptions of the day and uphold the low, the poor and the oppressed. Interestingly though the poor are not let off the hook by Christ when it comes to giving. They are shown to be just as expected to give as everyone else. (127)
7. Similarly Chapter seven looks at the parable of the talents and our responsibility to what we have been given from God. The chapter also talks about the ancient version of "health and wealth gospel" and how we are to seek the Kingdom of God's Judgment and not monetary wealth. It also talk about the persistent presence of the poor, the importance of tithing, the attitude and means by which you give, and perhaps most importantly the ability to asses ourselves on the world scale of wealth and not on the lists printed in Forbes.
8. In this section Mr. Kraybill devotes much time to the discussion of piety. He writes about the divisions of Pharisees and Sadducees. He writes about the Laws of Moses and differing applications. He writes about Jesus' picking of grain on the Sabbath and about cleanliness. Christ' expectance of the "unclean" or "last" is a direct counter to the culture of the Church in his day and Kraybill presents a case by which Jesus upturned this system. (159)
9. By chapter nine, Donald Kraybill has begun to get into the more difficult assertion of Christ to love ones enemies. Here much attention is paid to the word "Agape" and how it is applied to loving our neighbors who Kraybill describes as "everyone". (188) Though not fully dealt with in terms of "Law" Kraybill also confronts Jesus' command to overturn or add to the law of "an eye for an eye". (190-195) Perhaps nowhere else does the author show Christ' upside down ideas about the kingdom then he does here.
10. The tenth chapter of this book focuses on the different kinds of social connections people make with each other. It then shows the reader a number of applications including nationalism, ethnic superiority, religious piety, and sexual discrimination. These things Mr. Kraybill calls blocks "to the commission to evangelize", and what's more he gives examples of Jesus breaking down these barriers. (226)
11. In this section Donald Kraybill talks about the authority of Jesus and how he uses it for the good of others. It is about how Jesus came to serve and "look up the ladder". (244) As Kraybill writes "The hallmark of Jesus' upside-down power was his willingness to spurn what was rightfully his. Instead of mimicking a typical king, Jesus worked from the bottom up. Rather than demanding service, he served. Rather than dominating he invited."
12. The final chapter of this book is a simple recap of the previous sections. In it Kraybill writes about Jesus as a servant and a washer of feet. He writes about Christ living what seems to us as an upside down kingdom. He writes about a Jesus who "-challenged the conventional definitions of religious behavior", and who "upset the bedrock assumptions of the pious". (259)
Critical Assessment
First and foremost I noticed Donald Kraybill's great and undeniable love for his Bible. The stories he tells are wonderfully told and right from his heart. Second, I could not help but appreciate that Christ was not shown only through the modern rose colored glasses that see him only as meek and mild. Instead He is shown as a figure of great authority and power yelling "Get thee behind me Satan!", and as the man who told the disciples to buy swords at the Last Supper. (36; 56) In addition I found chapter two to be extremely informative. Kraybill's information of the Jubilee was new to me and that is becoming somewhat rare at this point in my studies. (93)
As well I found chapter six to be particularly intriguing. It is a chapter that could launch a hundred sermons and I am sure to use it in the future. Especially I loved the analysis of Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler as it introduces a number of wonderful topics. Most interestingly though are the small tidbits of information that expound upon the details of the biblical texts all throughout this book. They are insightful, sometimes questionable but always interesting. Although these seemingly unimportant details make up the majority of my "positives" list, I also found the point of the book to be right on target. The upside down kingdom of Christ is presented with crystal clarity. The lives that we could be living are staring up at us from the words of Jesus and today's Church should be attempting to turn our systems on end in light of the cross.
Though surprising to me, I have little to complain about from this book. The "negatives" I have are miniscule and largely stylistic. One problem that I had with the book is the assertion that "Jesus [wasn't] tempted to turn stones into bread merely because he was hungry" and the subsequent remarks in the book that I believe over dramatize and go far beyond what we are told in the Bible. (74) For me the literary liberties that are taken seem to overtake common sense and in some cases distract me from the reading.
Another sore point with me (though it was only but a drop of water in the ocean of this book) is the small section devoted to war. As much as I would love to agree with complete pacifism, I find myself living in a much more difficult world where even God begins His new creation with a war in which we will play a role. In addition I was also bothered by the amount of time devoted to "Agape". In my opinion far too much attention has been misguidedly paid to the distinction of "Agape" love; so much so that I can hardly stand to hear it anymore. With recent insights into this word, I would "Agape" to see "Agape" a lot less emphasized. (200-201) Personally I find most of what is said in this section to be overanalyzed and incorrect. As to the main idea of the book I can find no real fault.
Application to Ministry
Application to Personal Ministry
As far as applicability to my personal ministry, this book is very applicable. It is not just applicable in that I will attempt to change my world (though I agree with the personal effort to do away with cast systems both here and abroad), but it is also applicable as a teaching tool. Honestly I find this book to be a great resource for sermons, illustrations, and small group bible studies. Especially useful in my opinion are the questions following each section. I have no doubt that this book will prove an important resource in my library and I am glad that I bought it.
Rating the Book
[8] The book has a lot of overlap and many of the chapters could easily have been
combined. For example: 2-4 & 8-11
Clear statement of purpose
[8] There is no one "I wrote this book to..." statement that lays out exactly the function
of the book however, it is stated none the less.
[10] This book is written at about a 6th grade level. (This is fine - it is the average reading level of people in North America.) It is smooth and each chapter moves easily into the next.
Informative content
[7] It believe it is very informative, however it is hard to distinguish what is professional
liberty and what is exegetical at times.
Usefulness for your understanding and practice of ministry
[7] I agree fully with the topic of a countercultural Christ and Church and yet I always
did; so there is little impact on me as far as persuasion. I believe my understanding
and practice of ministry has always headed in this direction. Even so it proves to be a
good resource.
A Challenging Gospel  Aug 27, 2005
I think the best aspect of Kraybill's book is that it expands upon the words of Christ. He brings to our attention issues that many American Christians tend to explain away or outright ignore. I appreciated his frankness when addressing the application of many issues today, and appreciate the effort he makes in helping me see how I can change my own lifestyle to better reflect the "upside-down" lifestyle of our Lord.

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